President Barack Obama has accepted Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard's invitation to visit Darwin, the Northern Territory city that serves as a gateway to many of the outback's natural wonders.
Obama is set to arrive in the Northern Territories on the 17th, after meetings in Canberra. The Australian capital, like Washington D.C., is a planned city with a name that conjures up political frustrations for Australians, many of whom are cheering President Obama's decision to see the "real" Australia.
It doesn't get much more real than Darwin, which is closer to Jakarta than it is to the Canberra and has maintained its frontier town identity. The city has a large aboriginal population and the locals, who are fond of warning visitors about saltwater crocodiles in the rivers and Great White Sharks just off shore, err on the side of rugged.
Darwin also shares some unfortunate history with America. In 1942, planes launched from the same fleet that attacked Pearl Harbor bombed the city. According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the President will commemorate the deaths of those who died in the raids.
The rest of President Obama's Darwin itinerary is not yet known, but he could well take in a few of the sights, such as the harbor, Mindil Beach and the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, which has a large collection of aboriginal art.
If he has time to get out of the city, President Obama could visit Kakadu National Park, a stunning reserve filled with billabongs, waterfalls, dramatic rock formations, wildlife, ancient rock paintings and locations immortalized by the Crocodile Dundee.